As far back as I can recall, I've had an intimate connection to the sense of smell. It would manifest as a drive to put my nose onto something new, something foreign, ultimately to experience the curious rush of emotion as neurons accelerate and endorphins flood the pleasure center.
Today, I work in a home office that I've setup on the workbench of my Atelier where I explore exotic woods, essential oils and molecules that I have managed to track down over the years. Having begun experimenting with niche perfumery, it was quite natural to gravitate towards the complexity and depth of Incense and Artisinally distilled essential oils - most notably Oud. As I began to explore the Oud / Agarwood market, I learned a lot about my tastes and preferences. First, I had to learn for myself that all oils and raw materials (woods) are not created equally - there are a few variables including locale, species, age of infection, and quality; for example, the wood found in the dense inner part of a tree would be considered its heartwood, most prone to oil/resin saturation in a mature specimen.
There are many regions where the Aquilaria species grew/grow natively and have thrived over the past centuries. The region to region differences in species, scent, taste and smell remains a cornerstone for Wood and Oil classification.
Through my experiences sourcing Agarwood to heat as Incense for pleasure, I was able to confirm that as with many naturally occurring phenomenon, all woods are not created equally. There are a couple of socially accepted 'grading' scales that are used by Agarwood wholesalers and retailers but even so, I've found there are varying degrees of quality within these 'grading' scales. I've learned to rely on the relationships within this market to reliably source high quality (heartwood) and grade (age of infection). The Kodo King Mission is and will always be to effectively source and make available to our customers for pleasure and learning - the most exotic, wild, natural aromatics in the world. During this journey, I have found that the most exotic, aromatic Agarwood offerings of highest grade and quality are rarely available in small quantities.
As an Economist by education, I've studied Markets where the 'goods' are no longer being produced and are only available from collectors. Please don't mistake 'goods' for 'bads' in this situation - a 'bad' would be considered cultivated, painted, otherwise sub-par quality/grade product disguised as a 'good'. The Agarwood Market made up of only the highest quality / grade woods is an example where Supply and Demand will set pricing through Equilibrium, which simply put; the optimal price where the total number of items available can be reasonably consumed by all the potential customers. These potential customers include the Japanese, Chinese and Arab cultures where the Agarwood and Oils are cherished for reasons other than just personal pleasure. Some believe that these cultures have further created barriers of entry by driving pricing up on the top tier woods and oils by collecting over the past decades.
The price tag for one 30 gram piece of top tier wood can be daunting. Kodo King will offer Regional Kits from areas where Agarwood has been harvested in the past at smaller quantities to provide the olfactory journey only found in the highest quality aromatics in the World.